One of my very best friends called me with a familiar dilemma: her current boyfriend wants to “see other people” but remain in their relationship and would she mind?
The answer at the outset seems obvious: dump ‘im.
Not so fast, there, Skippy! As always, these issues are complicated, emotional and sticky. Many times, we enter relationships for different reasons. Like, we don’t think we’re good enough for a better one. Or we don’t deserve it. Or, perhaps, it’s better to be in a relationship than not. No matter what our friends say, we have our own deeply personal reasons why we stay in bad relationships. Read on…
Pre-Stanley, my life was a real messy mess. My financial, living and career situations were all in dire straits. I had little idea where my life was going, nor did I much care. To the outside observer, I was a serious trainer with my ducks in a row. I was in a stable, 6-year-and-counting relationship. But just below the surface, I was very alone, afraid and unempowered. In fact, for years my dark and dirty secret was, “when things get bad enough, I’ll jump.”
Along came this regal, class-act who changed the entire picture. Stanley became my muse. I began putting the pieces of me together because I KNEW we were in it for the long haul…and I wanted to live a long time.
Stanley saved my life. So did my therapist.
To make it all work, I knew I had to get myself together. One late-summer morning, I locked myself in a small yoga studio in one of New York’s top gyms and took a long, good, hard stare in the mirror at myself. Through fat, salty tears, the mirror and I made a pact. From here on out, we “choose life”. We choose honesty, integrity and truth. We call out injustice and inequality, me and that reflection.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see why people make decisions that we think are ridiculous. Unfortunately (or luckily), we can’t see beyond the velvet curtain unless they pull it back.
So before judging my friend’s decision and getting all preachy with mine, I recall my own rationale for delaying my happiness and I listen the only way I can: with empathy and encouragement. And a silent prayer.